Two NHS equestrian students, JT and Mairead, recently traveled to Wellington, Florida to participate in the College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show, or CPI. As they explain on their website, CPI offers young equestrians the opportunity to explore the college equestrian experience through a comprehensive education, competition and scholarship / community service program.
Students participating in CPI signed up last September. They were accepted and invited to participate in the January events, and show on one of two days. This year, the Advanced, Intermediate, and Limit equitation riders showed on Saturday. The Novice Equitation, Walk, Trot, Canter Equitation, and the Open Equitation showed on Sunday. When each class was called, riders lined up and drew horses, which they then rode for their respective events. Every division except the Walk, Trot, Canter divisions draws two horses; one for flat and one for fences. The Walk, Trot, Canter only draws one horse, as they do not jump.
The students flew to Florida with their families and Coach Amanda Cote, owner of Wakewood Farms in Plymouth, where the team trains. Once settled in Florida, the group checked in at the horse show and learned about the colleges present at the event. The students also watched professional jumpers at the nearby Winter Equestrian Festival, while their families stayed at CPI to attend some adult seminars about options for equestrian students at the collegiate level and beyond.
JT showed in the Advanced Equitation division on Saturday. He carefully watched the horses participating as they warmed up in the ring. Then, he and Coach Cote went into the ring to walk his jumping course. JT rode Commodore for his flat round, who he found to be a lazy and slow horse, and he rode El Chorro his second round, who was contrastingly strong and fast. This format required riders to be versatile and strong in their riding skills.
That evening, New Hampton School students, Coach Cote, and their families went to the Winter Equestrian Festival to watch "The Battle of the Sexes." Male and female professional and Olympic riders competed against each other in a series of events including a classic race through a series of jumps to see who could finish first. The Women's team of riders won the overall competition for the 6th year in a row, following a well fought battle.
The following day, Mairead showed in the Walk, Trot, Canter Division. Mairead drew a horse named Bob. She found Bob a little lazy as well, but they did well together. Mairead placed sixth in the Walk, Trot and she placed fifth in the Canter.
CPI was a new event for New Hampton School riders and it was a lot of fun, plus a great opportunity to connect with other riders and learn about collegiate opportunities. It was also a special treat to escape the New England winter for a few days and ride in warmer temperatures. The NHS Equestrian program hopes to return again next year.
*Many thanks to JT for providing a write-up of the experience to share on our website.